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Seeing what the birds see

June 17, 2022
by Ivan Raconteur

Drone technology and the use of drones have been evolving rapidly. Society is being influenced by drones in countless ways. There are negative aspects, such as privacy and security concerns. There are also a wide variety of potentially positive applications.

I have recently been noticing some fine examples of this technology. When used responsibly, the result can be fascinating.

I grew up in Duluth, and I have always been impressed with the architecture of the city. Duluth is home to an abundance of old buildings that exude character and conjure up images of days gone by. The use of drone photography allows us to appreciate these structures in a whole new way. We can see some of the incredible architectural details up close for the first time.

The appeal of the city goes far beyond the iconic structures like the aerial lift bridge and Enger Tower. There is a lot to discover, even for those of us who have lived there for years.

I have always had an interest in transportation systems. Railroads were part of the environment, and the busy harbor exposed us to ships from all over the world. Now, we can see these things from angles we could only imagine prior to the availability of drone photography.

Seeing the ore docks, the harbor, or the rail yards from above provides an entirely new perspective. It allows us to see how things are connected, giving us an understanding we can’t get from ground level. Observing 1,000-footers from above reveals new details down to the last hatch cover.

When I was young, I remember sitting on the hill above Duluth looking out over the river, the bay, and the lake stretching out beyond, and the city clinging to the shore, spread out along the water’s edge. I remember wishing I was a bird so I could fly above it all and see what the birds see.

Now, through the magic of drone photography, I can see it all, not just in Duluth but throughout the Great Lakes region. I have seen the big ships loading and unloading, and I’ve seen videos looking down on lonely lighthouses and rocky cliffs from the lakeside instead of from the limited perspective we get on land.

I tend to distrust advances in technology, and I am frequently frustrated with the improvements, but if drone technology can open up a whole new world and allow me to see what the birds see, I’m prepared to sit back and simply enjoy it.

 


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